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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Nov 3, 2009 10:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Tom Constanten's contribution to the Grateful Dead?

A lot of what I have to say has been covered ot at least touched upon. T.C., being an old room mate of Phil's, shareed the latter's sensibilties toward avant guard and electronic music. His training was more classical--as was Phil's--and he had a gifted ear.

What he brought to the band was the missing link--the ability to lay down sympathetic keyboard colorings that complimented and pushed Garcia's experiments with tonality, feedback, and improvisatory exploraion.

The leap from my first shows in 1967 to the Constanten era is astonishing. The band I encountered on 6-14-68 was light years ahead of the one from the summer before (and, btw, there is a missing Dark Star before the audience tape starts up with Feedback).I believe that his catalytic energy pushed Phil who in turn pushed Garcia during 1968. His swirling playing allowed the organ to become an energizing force for the ongoing, nascent psychedellia that Jerry and Phil were seeking out. His expressiveness is perhaps best heard on the many Dark Stars of 1969 that floated on the wings of his eerily incandescent playing. Certainly, his contribution on a musical level not only did for the band what Keith did in 1971, but his own personal oddness added to that of an already bizarre troupe. His visage--that infamous moustache and generally goofy look fit right in with the style and attire of the band. He was a joy to watch.

And, yes, thank God he was on the keys instead of Pig in 1969. Had he not been, I doubt that Dark Star would have made it much past the ten minute mark; not would it have been half as exciting, mysterious, or constant(en)ly unique.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Nov 3, 2009 12:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Tom Constanten's contribution to the Grateful Dead?

You gotta give TC credit for escaping the keyboardist death curse that claimed Pig, Keith, Brent AND Vince!

(I actually thought his sound was just exactly perfect for the Dead's psychedelic period.)